American Horror Story: Coven, Episode 4

Frances Conroy returns as Myrtle Snow in this fourth episode of American Horror Story: Coven

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here are rarely actions without consequences, which is what we learn in episode four of American Horror Story: Coven. For the most part, the consequences in Ryan Murphy’s dark anthology are rarely ever pleasant.

After Fiona murdered Madison last week in plain sight of her mute butler Spalding, we learn that Fiona has a lot more to sweep under the rug than the body of a tween movie star.

Flashback to 1961 at the start of this week’s episode with Marie Laveau wreaking her vengeance on a group of men who murdered a young black boy. American Horror Story has tackled pretty much every sub-category of the horror genre, and words can not describe the thrill or the little leap in my stomach when I realised Zombies were going to be next on their hit list. Marie performs a ritual that raises the dead and turns them on the men – of course, I’m sure this will be very important later on, as last week we saw her unleash the Minotaur onto the Coven.

It appears that post-murder, Fiona somehow managed to behead the beast, sending the head to his lover Marie, beginning the war between Voodoo peoples and Witches once again. Cue another flashback of the truce made between previous Supreme Anna Leigh (you know, the one Fiona also murdered) and Marie followed by a young Fiona being interrogated by the Witches Council. What’s so great about these little snippets is that we finally learn a little more about Spalding, which is the only we we can really, considering he has no tongue. Skip to present day, and Fiona is once again being grilled on the whereabouts of a missing witch after clairvoyant Nan says she ‘can’t hear’ Madison any more. FYI: If a witch murders another member of the Coven, the punishment is a burning at the stake. Yikes.

Super-fans will revel in the return of Frances Conroy as Myrtle Snow, who apparently has had some conflict with Fiona in the past. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, that the lapses in time and flashback sequences are one of my favourite things about American Horror Story and seeing Frances Conroy and Jessica Lange at odds in this series is quite the treat! The eccentric dress and one liners are why Conroy deserves to feature more heavily, but for now we are tantalised by her return as judge, jury and executioner as Fiona goes on trial.

Despite their differences, Cordelia vehemently defends her mother, revealing Madison could not have been the Supreme due to a heart murmur, which of course begs the question; if Madison wasn’t the Supreme, then who is?

Whilst things progress steadily to set up next week’s episode, things are still going nowhere for Franken-Kyle. He brutally murders his incestuously abusive mother ( and grunts more) but as plot progression goes, Zoe is wasting her time coddling him instead of looking for Madison or discovering her own powers. I just hope that the series can develop this wisely as Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters (among others such as Nan and Queenie’s characters) are becoming dangerously underused. Things have become a little stale with Cordelia too, until it is revealed her husband is having an affair. Well, was. He shoots his lover in the head so we can be sure that boring old Hank has his own darkening role to play in this twisted tale.

In an ultimately cliff hanger episode, it seems Sarah Paulson, who plays Cordelia, is once again taking the brunt of awfulness. As if traumatising her wasn’t enough in Asylum, the finale of the episode sees a cloaked stranger attack Cordelia in a club with sulphuric acid, blinding her. That was a scene that will certainly leave you uneasy…

The pieces are in place for maximum drama and something tells us that if episode five has Smell-O-Vision, it might smell like old pants and Barbecue… We can’t wait.

Best Scene: It’s impossible not to feature a flashback sequence as the best scene each week, but this week’s was truly memorable with a young Fiona and Myrtle Snow establishing their life long rivalry and revealing Spalding’s backstory.

Freakiest Scene: Madame LaLaurie opens the door to ‘Trick Or Treaters’… or rather her now undead daughters.

What to look forward to next week: Zombies, and lots of ’em. FINALLY!

What not to look forward to: Will someone please put Franken-Kyle out of his misery?

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